Ready for Implementation?
Updated: Apr 13
im·ple·men·ta·tion noun: implementation; plural noun: implementations
the process of putting a decision or plan into effect; execution. "she was responsible for the implementation of the plan"
Technology has come a long way, and by virtue, we as humans have had to adapt alongside it. Sure, you could opt out, but the idea of advancing your business without technology is a pretty crazy one.
With the introduction of the basics such as inventory management systems and point of sale technologies, consumers were given a greater advantage in how they choose to plan and spend their dollars. Fast forward to heavily automated Enterprise Resource Management systems and mobile ordering and payment options and we're treading on entirely new ground!
Further to those advancements, companies are finding ways to serve customers in even more innovative and time-saving ways. For example, Walmart has recently launched a new service that allows consumers to order groceries online and have a Walmart employee come to their home to put them away! Consumers have to buy a special doorknob (which also comes with a month of free unlimited grocery delivery), and a bonded Walmart employee will come into your home and put your grocery order away. (When I first heard about this, it made me raise an eyebrow... Someone you don't know, handling your groceries and putting them away - how do they know your fridge feng shui?!)
One thing that rings true in all technology implementations: humans must change. We must adapt and we must be willing to embrace the technology for what it's capable of doing. This is easier said than done! Sure, the benefits may be attractive, but will the technology actually do what it's intended to do?
A business or operation will always have obstacles or problems to solve .. and sales people are great at what they do - selling stuff. They can easily shine the light on the benefits of a tool and sell a great story of cost savings through efficiency or automation; however, the sales call is just that - a sales call. Knowing what a piece of tech can do out of the box is only a fraction of having a piece of technology implemented looks like.
Some of the greatest initiatives I've worked on have been some of the most complex and difficult technical solutions to implement, and this is because when a sales call happens, those in charge of signing the purchase order for the solution might not always have a full understanding of the technical/architectural landscape or competing technologies/projects in mind. When leaders don't have a full understanding of the landscape, additional time and cost is added to the scope which lends to frustration across the business, technology and in some cases, field operations where there may be an impact.
Remember - most companies buying technology are NOT technology companies - this is where the divide between technology teams and the business/operations starts to grow. What is a number one priority to one team or group is much lower on the list for others.
How can you avoid falling into this situation?
Build relationships and create alignment: Take the time to get to know your Technology teams/partners - understand their goals and objectives and how their goals integrate with yours.
Sales calls: Is there a tool in the company that already does what the solution being pitched can do? Ask questions. Invite your Technology teams/partners to join you. Listen, but don't commit to something you don't fully understand.
Assess requirements: Interested after the sales call? Great! Now ..do a deep dive! We see so many organizations purchase technology and they have no idea if they can implement due to a lack of full understanding of the requirements or how their organization can fully leverage the benefits. Can you meet the basic requirements to make the technology work? Do you need to retire other technologies first? Do you have the right processes in place to enable or support the new solution?
Spend up front: Be realistic - spend the time up front getting to know what you don't know (and fixing any broken or disjointed pieces), so you're not bringing expensive Delivery Teams in to implement a technology that has gaps - this is a BIG opportunity for cost savings on *any* technology project.
Assess impact: What will implementing this technology mean for your organizational structure or people? Will you be removing roles? Will you need to adjust processes? How long will it take you to be ready to embrace the technology and realize the benefits? There are a lot of questions to consider in this space - check out my article on the importance of a robust Impact Assessment.
Second Mouse: "The early bird gets the worm, the second mouse gets the cheese" - one of my favourite sayings! Use lessons learned from previous implementations, former client implementations of your new Solution Provider, or others in industry that may have been in the same spot as you. What went well? What was difficult? What could have been done earlier or later within the project or implementation process? How did people respond? How did processes need to change?
Want to discuss your technology implementations or ways to engage your teams during technology changes? Reach out! A call doesn't cost a thing!